Killing metaphysics? Well, that is what he said, I thought that curious enough to make a post out of it.
Out of what exactly? Well, I wrote a comment here explaining why I don’t think science and technology have progressed over the last 100 years as much as we would like to think. That provoked a surprising response from tildeb (here) that I will dissect on this post. attributes progress to the destruction of religious thought. Here is how began.
The Renaissance and Enlightenment came about by killing metaphysics. (from here)
For a definition of metaphysics, click on the link. It seems to me that has only a vague idea what the word means.
Then it got more interesting.
This death by a million cuts came about by changing the method used to investigate how reality actually worked. Galileo – the giant upon whose shoulders Newton claims to have stood – removed its cornerstone – the idea that things had ‘natures’ that caused effect upon reality – and used evidence from reality to inform claims made about it. This was the birth of the scientific revolution and it was to challenge religious authority directly and fracture it into thousands of pieces. (from here)
Both Galileo and Newton were serious students of the Bible. The reference to Galileo is actually misleading. Supposedly, Galileo and the Catholic Church had a feud over whether the sun is at the center of our solar system. In the sense the sun actually is at the center of our solar system Galileo was right. However, church authorities were correct to reject Galileo’s flawed arguments (see Galileo affair). That is, Galileo was right, but his proof was wrong.
The dispute Galileo had with the church ultimately had more to do politics than science. In arguing for his position (in a Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems), Galileo foolishly irked the pope, prior to his publication a friend.
Apparently, without intending to offend, Galileo put the pope’s words into the mouth of a fool (in his book). The pope was not then a good target for satire. Church authorities let Galileo continue his work, but they kept someone they probably regarded as a reckless hot head out of their hair by keeping him under house arrest.
Of course, it didn’t hurt his reputation to know ahead of all others which ships were about to arrive in port… thus demonstrating the economic benefit to befall those who dared to use products from this method. It didn’t hurt his reputation to vastly improve the accuracy for artillery by understanding how trajectories actually worked. It didn’t hurt clock making and time pieces essential for navigation to better refine how pendulums were actually affected by a rotating earth. Each of these cuts to the metaphysical nonsense that produced a millennium of widespread ignorance and stupidity about how reality worked contrary to and incompatible with the products Galileo effectively used demonstrated that this new method might have unlimited potential for creating all kinds of applications, therapies, and technologies that would from that point on hammer home the coffin nails into realty-immune metaphysics. (from here)
Here obscures his point with too many fancy turns of phrase. I think he means to point to the superiority of mathematical models of cause and effect over “the idea that things had ‘natures’ that caused effect upon reality.” What is funny about that is that “the idea that things had ‘natures’ that caused effect upon reality” has next to nothing to do with a belief in God. Superstition is not the product of religion. Superstition comes from the belief that the universe is without order. For example, without believing in God, we can still believe that things: old trees, ancient rocks, big bears and so forth, have a mind of their own. Without believing in God, we can still believe that life formed on this earth all by itself. Maybe the spirit of the earth (Gaia) just wanted it that way.
On the other hand, Christianity teaches there is only One God, that God is orderly, and He expects us to be orderly.
1 Corinthians 14:33 New King James Version (NKJV)
33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
Hence, the primary reason Christians, not Atheists, invented the scientific method is that God told us He had invented an orderly universe. Until Christians demonstrated the scientific method actually works, Atheists had no expectation of an orderly universe.
That, however, does not stop from asserting otherwise.
But because religion relied on this methodological nonsense for its claims to temporal authority and supposed knowledge about how reality worked, we still have to this day the heavy reliance on metaphysics for religious thought. That’s why religious thought today is fundamentally anti-enlightenment, anti-scientific thinking that yields to knowledge only grudgingly while continuing to tilt at windmills and claiming to do this necessary battle on behalf of all. (from here)
Think about the sheer stubbornness required to assert something like the above. Christians invented the scientific method. Under Christian influence, Enlightenment ideas resulted the formation American republic, the spread of religious freedom across Christendom, and eventually an end to slavery. Nevertheless, even though only a Christian society would forebear with such attacks from , that does not stop from ignorantly attacking Christianity with hate-filled vehemence. Why does do that? I am not certain. Even someone who calls himself an Atheist can still love his neighbor enough to disagree without being disagreeable.